In one of my favourite books Invent and Wander, Jeff Bezos says the following:
“Inventors don’t just use tools, they create them. And in the process, those tools shape us just as much as we shape them. As we invent new tools, we’re also inventing new possibilities for ourselves and for society. We’re expanding our potential and creating new opportunities. But we’re also assuming new responsibilities, because those tools have the power to transform the world around us.”
The tools we invent not only enable us to do our work, but they also affect and shape us as individuals and as a society.
Bezos believes that tools have the power to transform the way we live and work, and that it’s important to approach their development with a sense of responsibility and foresight.
In essence, we should view tools as a two-way street: they enable us to achieve our goals and drive progress, but they also have the power to shape our values, our behaviour, and our future.
Social media platforms illustrate Jeff Bezos’ claim that tools shape us as much as we shape them.
Facebook and Twitter connect individuals and share information. These tools have changed society and how individuals communicate over time.
At the same time, these platforms’ algorithms keep users scrolling, raising concerns about mental health and misinformation. Platforms have been attacked for spreading hate speech and extreme content and polarising politics.
So, our tools have unforeseen effects on society and behaviour.
Jeff Bezos believes it’s necessary to consider these repercussions and create tools with the world in mind.
As John Culkin said:
We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.